The Splendour Of The Pyramids At Giza
The splendours of the pyramids at the Giza plateau in Cairo, Egypt. A look at the history, new discoveries and how to get there.
Legend has it that Napoleon Bonaparte, the infamous emperor of France, ventured into the Great Pyramid alone. When he emerged, he was visibly shaken and gasping for air – what secrets did he discover in the darkness?
Although only a legend, the story of Bonaparte still rings true today for visitors to the Pyramids at Giza. The three structures are impressive to say the least but it is only inside the Great Pyramid that one gets the true sense of wonder. Once the darkness enfolds you inside the tons of bricks and you breathe the ancient, somewhat stale air; the ancients whisper their secrets to those who are willing to listen.
The traditional theory is that the Great Pyramid was built during Khufu’s reign at around 2650 BC. Made up of 625 million tons of stone, each individual block of the Great Pyramid weighs between two and fifteen tons. The sheer logistics of such an enterprise still baffles event the most experienced modern engineer.
As more scientists delve into the secrets of Egypt, the traditional beliefs of the origin of the Pyramids are increasingly being challenged. Graham Hancock and Robert Beauval have conducted extensive research into the Pyramids and the Sphinx. They’ve come up with some interesting theories that reawaken the mystery of Egypt.
Throughout all of Egypt there exists a delicate balance between the ancient and the modern world; nowhere is it more obvious than at the pyramids. The dilapidated apartment buildings stretch to the foot of the pyramids, bathing in their afternoon shadows. On the other side of the Pyramid Complex the relentless desert stretches into infinity. This is truly a land of contrasts – extreme beauty on the one hand, tempered by extreme cruelty and sadness.
Perhaps it is this contrast that makes Egypt such a fascinating destination, with the pyramids at Giza taking centre place in this eternal mystery.
The pyramids are not the only attraction in Cairo. The Khan el-Khalili souk or bazaar, which is largely unchanged since the 14th century, offers the best shopping bargains throughout Egypt. Resist the temptation to buy from other vendors on your tour and wait to visit this bazaar that covers a six square kilometre radius! You won’t be sorry.
Cairo was founded on the site of Babylon, near the ruins of ancient Memphis. As such, the current city encompasses many former cities and monuments, making it an ideal place for experiencing the many different cultures that is Egypt – from Salah al-din’s Citadel to the beautiful Christian monasteries.
The best way to see the pyramids is through spending a couple of days in Cairo, which will give you the opportunity to see other sites. As a first time visitor to Egypt, I would strongly recommend that you book a package tour through a reliable travel agent in your area. Egypt is too comprehensive and intricate to attempt on your own, especially if it is your first visit. These tours include just about everything including day trips from Cairo and are unbelievable value for money.
Do not even attempt to visit Egypt without doing some extensive reading – visit your local library or search the internet for interesting facts about Egypt’s history and its people. The extra bits of information you garner will enhance your enjoyment of the country and its mysteries. A good place to start your research is at the official Egypt website.